Neurological Diagnosis and Treatment for Learning Disabilities

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Clinical Reference Guide:
What We Diagnose, How We Diagnose and Treatment Options

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Adults
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children
Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder
Digital EEG and Evoked Potentials Assessment (DEEP)
Cognitive Guidance for High Achievers
Developmental Coordination Disorder
Learning Disabilities
Speech and Language Disorders
Physical Therapy

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children

Video: Dr. Miranda speaks on ABC News about diagnosing ADHD
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What is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
Children with ADHD often have problems with attention span, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. It is often called by an older name, attention deficit disorder (ADD).

The disorder begins in the preschool years and may either continue or fade away during the teenage years. About one-third of children with ADHD also have learning problems such as a reading disability.

About half of ADHD children and teenagers have behavior problems, which may include breaking rules, talking back, and hitting other children.

ADHD is 7 times more common in boys than girls. Girls are more likely to have troubles with attention and less likely to have hyperactivity.

How does it occur?
In about 70% of cases, ADHD is inherited. It runs in families, especially through the males in the family line. Research continues in an effort to find out why it occurs in those without a family history. Some things that contribute to the risk for ADHD include:

  • Substance abuse during pregnancy
  • Smoking during pregnancy
  • Various illnesses during pregnancy
  • A long and difficult labor
  • The baby being short of oxygen during birth
  • The umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby's neck

Much research has looked at whether ADHD is caused by sugar or things added to foods such as preservatives and coloring. No sound evidence has connected these with ADHD. Allergies are also not a factor in causing ADHD.

People with ADHD have several small differences in their brain structure. These differences are in the front part of the brain (an area involved in self-control) and in some parts in the center of the brain.

What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of ADHD, especially hyperactivity, usually appear by age 2 or 3 and by first grade at the latest. The main symptoms are:

  • Trouble focusing and short attention span. Children and teens with ADHD change activities very often, frequently not finishing what they have started. They are easily distracted by noises or things they see around them.
  • Poor impulse control, or impulsivity (having a hard time with patience and waiting). Children with this symptom often react quickly without thinking of the outcome. They are impatient and tend to interrupt others in conversations and begin tasks without enough planning.
  • Hyperactivity (excessive movement). Hyperactive children are nearly always on the go. They seldom sit still, and when sitting, they usually fidget or play with things

Common related symptoms are:

  • Trouble organizing tasks and projects
  • Difficulty slowing down at night to get to sleep
  • Social problems from being aggressive, loud, or impatient in groups and conversations


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